Journalist and HandCut Radio host, Aleks Cvetkovic, extols the virtues of our new made-to-order tailoring, albeit in his own inimitable way…
I’m afraid that I’m going to perform my usual trick in this column and not quite write about the subject at hand.
The thing is, I loathe the idea of a capsule wardrobe. In fact, I tend to dislike anything and anyone who suggests that minimalism or constraint is a bright idea when it comes to living well. Clothes are too much fun to be boiled down to 12 or 24 pieces, or however many the glossy-page fashion gurus say we should own. And can you think of anything more disappointing than a ‘minimalistic’ bowl of pasta? No, indeed.
Simplicity on the other hand, I can heartily endorse. Who doesn’t like to simplify the process of getting dressed in the morning? And of looking good without having to overthink your outfit? Thankfully, Benson & Clegg’s new Spring/Summer ’21 collection is an exercise in simplicity that is heartening to see from a West End tailor. The house has thought carefully about those tailored pieces that are going to slot most easily into your wardrobe, plug any gaps you might need filling, and about how you order them, to boot.
Every piece of SS21 tailoring is available on a made-to-order basis, a move that not only reduces waste (always commendable), but also simplifies the process of placing an order with Benson & Clegg. Take for example the house’s new trio of unstructured blazers, designed with today’s dressed-down mentality in mind. They’re available in three smooth cotton twills; crimson, navy blue or beige. The only decision you need make is which colour you like best.
Pieces like these are indispensable today, designed to look relaxed and of-the-moment, while maintaining a sleek English look (the lapel widths and coat lengths on these are spot-on). The red and stone versions look great with selvedge denim jeans, which is handy because the SS21 collection also includes a pair, while the navy jacket looks great with beige gabardine or grey flannel trousers. B&C’s signature blazer buttons and patch pockets are chic finishing touches.
Also spot-on is the new made-to-order double-breasted blazer model, cut in a contemporary style with a rakish silhouette. This piece is fully canvassed, cut with a high armhole and padded lapels. Benson & Clegg are offering it in royal blue mohair or navy serge, both of which are more than appropriate for 99 per cent of formal occasions, whether dressed up or down. The same applies to the made-to-order suits in the range, which are cut in earthy colours and versatile mid-weight fabrics (the forest green Crispaire jacket and trousers are favourite pieces of mine).
On that note, it’s also worth reflecting on the way Benson & Clegg has styled this new made-to-order offering. The whole thing is an exercise in considered dressing; jackets work with multiple pairs of trousers, suits are designed to be pulled apart and dressed as separates, and each piece layers comfortably with either relaxed knitwear or a shirt and tie.
As a collection it feels modern and easy to wear, which is always half the battle when it comes to men’s tailoring. So, if you’re looking for some sartorial solutions this season – whether capsule wardrobe or not – Benson & Clegg should be your first port of call.
Aleks Cvetkovic is a journalist and content strategist. He consults for luxury brands and contributes to The Financial Times, Robb Report and The Telegraph. He’s also the host of HandCut Radio, a critically acclaimed men’s style podcast that interviews leading designers, creatives and craftspeople from all corners of the fashion industry. He lives in north east London.